Travelling to India
When mentioning India, most people think of the Taj Mahal in Agra, Amer Fort and Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, and Jama Masjid in Delhi to name but a few. India’s tourism is growing steadily with close to 9 million people visiting the country each year. Before you pack your bags and head for the airport, you should be aware of the requirements for travelling to India though.

Valid Passport

It stands to reason that you need a valid passport. If you don’t have a passport you should apply for one. If your passport has expired or will expire during your visit to India, you need to renew it. With a valid passport, pay attention that the photo still looks like you. If you changed your hairstyle or hair colour, it might be worth it to have new photos taken. Whether you apply for a passport or renew your passport, specify to the photographer that you need pictures for a passport.    

Apply for a Visa

Everyone visiting India needs a visa. For UK citizens staying less than 30 days in India, the Indian High Commission has launched a double-entry e-visa. To obtain such a visa you should apply at least a week before your intended travel date. If you intend to stay longer than 30 days, you will need a full tourist visa. To obtain this visa you should start the application four to six weeks in advance during the low season and six to eight weeks in advance during the high season.

Visit the Doctor

Before travelling to India, visit your doctor for a general health assessment. Mention that you are planning a trip to India and the doctor will know what kind of medical protection you need. Malaria protection depends on the season as well as the area you are planning on visiting. Other than malaria, you will need to be up to date with tetanus shots, diphtheria, and polio. Jabs against typhoid are optional. For more information, you can visit www.travelhealthpro.org.uk

Other Risks

Depending on where you’re going, you should pay attention to the altitude. If the region you are visiting is higher than 2,500 meters, you should ascent gradually. Ascending too quickly might result in AMS (acute mountain sickness), HACE (high-altitude cerebral edema) and/or HAPE (high-altitude pulmonary edema). In case of the latter two, immediate descent and medical treatment are recommended. As such it is vital that if travelers who intend to spend time in an altitude above 2500 meters, should climb no more than 500 meters per day and take three to four rest days at that altitude before going any higher. Travellers who start to experience insomnia, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue and/or headaches should not ascend any further.

A taste of India

If you know nothing of India, but would like to familiarize yourself with the country, there are two excellent books: ‘India Handbook’ and ‘Lonely Planet’s India’. Both offer advice on reliable hotels and restaurants and provide easy to read maps. Both books are available in paperback and electronic format for iPhones and tablets. Alternatively, you could watch a few movies such as ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’, ‘The Second, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘Million Dollar Arm’. All four movies paint a fairly accurate picture of modern-day India. The sights, the accommodation, the transportation, street life, and the mentality of the Indian population. From north to south and from east to west, India is a wonderful country with magnificent nature sites, awe-inspiring historical buildings, a cuisine you won’t get enough of, and extraordinarily friendly people.  
Top 10 things to do when Travelling in India

Top 10 Things to do when travelling in India

India has plenty of activities to do or things to do that most likely you have never done before or seen before. The fun-filled adventures of all nature, either shocking or fascinating, or educational, or confusing or even frustrating, rule the day in the land, regardless of where you are.

There is a catalog of fun things you can do, and this article rounds up the ten favorite things that visitors of India and tour guides pick from their travel activities.

Delhi – Gali Paranthe Wali

This is an excellent food lane that is home to several famous diners that serve the unique stuffed parathas of Delhi, which is a flatbread created using wheat dough and fried lightly on both sides with oil. For most eateries, the filling is potatoes, but on this street, there are several varieties of fillings, ranging from squash to cheese to mint to raisins to cashews to mixed vegetables and many more.

Delhi – Akshardham

The Akshardham is a cultural complex situated close to the Yamuna River and is a remarkable structure with a massive temple made from thousands of Indian artisans' carvings. On the outside, the structure is mindblowing with its unique appearance and architecture, while its interior has absurdly detailed designs on the pillars, walls, and the high, domed ceilings.

Jaipur – Raj Mandir Cinema

The cinema opened in 1976 and is one of the most popular in the country. It's a fantastic place to catch a Bollywood film with its vast art-deco structure with pastel colored interiors, comfortable seats in the large theater, efficient staff and even the tense atmosphere of the hundreds of movie fans.

Abhaneri – Chand Baori Stepwell

A first-time visit to the tiny village of Abhaneri located 10 Km off the Agra-Jaipur road; one would make a common mistake thinking it's just a small well amidst a ruined city. However, the spectacular 1200-year-old water tank that is 30 meters deep and more than 3500 steps and still one of the largest in the city will keep you looking at it for hours.

Ranakpur – Ranakpur Jain Temple

The village of Ranakpur is a remarkably peaceful place situated off the Jodhpur-Udaipur main route. Home to one of the most significant temples in the world, the town also has a couple of restaurants and hotels for one to pay a visit. The temple sits in the forest, with an excess of 1400 pillars carved intricately, each unique from the next, supporting structure with an eerie atmosphere like in an ancient maze.

Udaipur – Animal Aid Unlimited

Udaipur is a famous place to visitors, but many people do not know that one can spend a day or two volunteering with the Animal Aid Unlimited. The organization operates as a rescue center, as well as hospital and sanctuary for ill and injured street animals. Here you can join other volunteers and find cows, dogs, donkeys, goats, pigs, as well as other animals under the care of the enthusiastic veterinarian staff from the local community.

Udaipur – Natraj Dining Hall

This is a place favorite among the locals of the town and offers the chance for one to enjoy the Indian thali experience. The meal has a variety of foods served on a big metal platter. Here, you eat whatever they make, without a menu, but it's delicious, and they keep serving until you say no more! And it all costs about $1.85 per head.

Bundi – Kukki's Cave paintings

Visit the beautiful tiny local named Rajasthan and hear about the legend of Kukki, who had very little knowledge in archaeology, yet uncovered some of the most impressive cave paintings in the whole of India while wandering around ruined monuments.

Varanasi – Jolly Music House

This city is ancient, clocking over 3800 years, and is full of buzz and activity making it rough, but fascinating. With the open cremations, religious ceremonies, crumbling palaces and ancient markets, it's an all in one destination. One exciting experience is a tiny room situated in the Bengali Tola area that is the Jolly Music house where you can learn from a talented musician on all the types of traditional music instruments.

Amritsar – The Golden Temple

Each visit to the shimmering Golden temple brings with it a rewarding experience with its unlimited flow of local pilgrims with whom you can mingle. Visit the Langar Hall and enjoy free, yet tasty meals available almost always. Over 100, 000 people per year experience meals and conversations with each other.

Whenever you visit India, you can go camping, hike the Himalayas, visit the Tibetan villages, play cricket, even visit the Hindu temples and also meet friendly people who could even invite you to family dinners. That is just a tiny glimpse of what awaits you in India; there are endless possibilities that will keep you revisiting.